University of the Highlands and Islands

KE Deal of the Year Finalist: Licensing a novel University of the Highlands and Islands cancer therapy to Qingdao Hailanshen Biotechnology Ltd

People gathered while papers are signed.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has successfully licensed a novel technology involving the enrichment and delivery of naturally occurring therapeutic antibodies to Qingdao Hailanshen Biotechnology Ltd (QHB). The primary market for this technology are the 400,000 Chinese liver cancer patients with $1.2b in annual direct healthcare costs.

The value of this license is very significant in terms of its potential to improve human health, with preliminary data demonstrating a >12 month increase in overall patient survival. Approval, adoption, and successful commercialisation of this work additionally represents a potential annual license income exceeding £7m. In terms of wider institutional impact this deal represents the university’s first successful intellectual property deal with a non-UK partner and has enabled further negotiations for companies interested in the rest of world license opportunities.

Negotiating the deal was a collective effort involving a University of the Highlands and Islands knowledge exchange team that comprised the lead academic, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Head of Research, and Director of Innovation and Commercialisation. A key element to the university’s success was the highly collaborative working relationship between this wider knowledge exchange team and QHB. This allowed the majority of negotiations to take place in a less formal setting, enabling the university to agree pricing, field, and territory terms prior to engaging lawyers.

Overall, the experience has provided the University of the Highlands and Islands knowledge exchange team with the confidence that, despite our status as a young Scottish university, we can nonetheless engage and thrive within the global life sciences marketplace.

University of the Highlands and Islands and Hailanshen Bio-technology logos.